Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Shoffice You Tube Video

The site I purchased the plans for my "modern shed" from,, made a You Tube video about the shoffice that includes a few additional photos from what I've posted here... Cool huh!? You can check out all their videos, mine is the last one on the page, here

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

My Happy Place (a.k.a. The Shoffice, my modern shed, my home office)

In my job, I get to make things better, be creative, focus on complex systems/processes, and solve problems.  So I designed my work space with those things in mind.  It has all the function and equipment I need and the uncluttered, fun design aesthetic inspires me, helps me focus, and just feels good.  I love working and being in the space, The Shoffice really is my happy place.  Come on in!

doormat custom made for me by Jessica Renee Designs

Everything in the room is my favorite, but it all started with the Julia Rothman wallpaper, it became the inspiration for the design, so we'll start there.  It has a hand drawn feel that I loved as soon as I saw it.  The hardest part was picking my favorite color way.

The colors of the Daydream print were perfect.  I had the blue from the clouds color matched at Sherwin Williams for the wall color for the rest of the room.  It keeps the space light, airy, and calming.  The yellow birds liven the space up and that pop of color is fun to incorporate into accessories.  Even the black worked well because, inevitably office equipment is black.

The mid-century modern dresser I refurbished found its home against the accent wall.  I really couldn't be happier with how much storage this very functional piece provides! My printer, iPad, and phone are on top, office supplies and reference materials below.  And, how can you not love the shiny blue color!?

Above the storage piece, I hung the 14" Fillsta pendant light from Ikea.  It's on a separate switch and gives off a nice diffused light in the evening... ya know in case there's ever a need for mood lighting in the shoffice.

The rug continues the nature/organic elements in the room and perhaps most importantly, Martha Stewart loves faux bois so it gets my vote on that premise alone.

I sit for work... all day... every day.  So a comfy chair is a must.  No one does office chairs better than the famous Herman Miller!    After doing some research I decided on the SAYL chair and was so excited when I found an "open box" SAYL in just the right color combination at the Office Designs Outlet site.  As a side note, I just saw on 30 Rock the other day that Liz Lemon sits in a SAYL chair too :)

Have you ever seen something you wanted but knew you couldn't have so you just wish you had never seen it in the first place?  That happened to me with my desk.  I saw THE desk I wanted at a small local boutique furniture store.  It looked almost identical to the desk you see in my space here, and it even had a really similar design where the cords are hidden in a compartment in the back of the desk.  The desk I saw was $1300, my desk came from Ikea and was $69.  So yeah, the $1300 desk is sturdier, and will last longer than my $69 Ikea desk but I could re-buy my desk almost 19 times before I would've spent as much... I'm learning to live with my "almost the exact same thing, but not" desk.

In the photo above you can also see the cuckoo clock I showed you in a previous post and a fun mouse pad Studio Elle made for me with "She believed she could so she did" printed on it.

The last big piece in the space is my chair and ottoman.  I wanted a place I could lounge in when I need to review tedious requirements or read through boring procedures.  I watched Craig's List forever when I finally found it, it had the clean simple lines and the "comfort factor" I was looking for.  The weird somewhere between green and brown color velvet-ish upholstery wasn't gonna work though.  I couldn't believe my luck when I found a fabric on spoon flower by an artist whose print work I had admired (and pinned) months prior.  With some white leather, black vinyl piping, and my spoonflower find, the upholsterer turned this funky piece:

into this funky (but in a good way) piece.

Next up, the Shoffice goes cocktail party for its grand opening!


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Shoffice

I love working from home, but our home is quite small and just can’t accommodate me working and my girls playing at the same time. I needed an office space that would afford me privacy so I could focus on work and my girls needed to be able to be home with the nanny after school and during breaks. So I came up with an idea to fix the problem.

At first I thought it was too crazy to be doable, but have you ever had an idea that just wouldn’t leave you alone?! I couldn’t stop myself from thinking about it, planning it, and growing the idea. Once I realized it was more than a passing thought I had a conversation with my Doug that went a little something like “Sooooo, I have an idea to fix my work at home while the girls are home problem. I realize it sounds totally crazy, but the more I think about it, the more I think it’s gonna work. Ummmm, I want to work from a shed in the back yard *insert cringe face*.”

My Doug has had 13 years practice at accommodating my hair brained ideas; he handled this one like a pro too and just said “I could see how it could work… research our options and we’ll figure it out.”

Just a few Google searches later I realized I wasn’t the first person with this idea. It’s not as common in the US, but there are lots of people in the UK working from “sheds” in their backyards. They call themselves shed workers, which sounds kinda creepy to me, so I decided to dub my space “The Shoffice” instead… ya know shed+office.

Deciding whether to convert an existing shed, build one from a kit, or build one from scratch was the first decision to be made. I scoured Craig’s List for sheds, shopped the big box DIY centers, and checked out the local shed “stores”. I ultimately decided that if I was going to be in this space 8hrs/day I wanted a normal height ceiling and several windows. Those two features made the price of a pre-built or kit pretty expensive, and they still looked like... well a shed. I found a website, icreatables, that sells shed plans including plans that are designed with the intent to be offices. $15 later I could envision my modern shed in my mind and I had the building plans and the materials list in my hand. A friend who has experience building things and I brought the materials list into the pro desk at Home Depot, they itemized everything, I paid, and all the lumber and building materials were delivered to our backyard the very next day.

We had tons of help from friends, family, and a few contractors building the Shoffice. It was quite an undertaking… it’s built like a little house, with a pressure treated foundation, floor joists and wall studs spaced according to code, hurricane clips for the roof (gotta love sunny Florida!), insulation, drywall, and laminate wood flooring. It also has all the comfort and convenience I need for working from it, like custom energy efficient windows, a full pane door with blinds & a key pad (so I don't have to bring my keys with me), LED lights in the ceiling, an air conditioner and it’s wired for Ethernet connections, electric, and phone. It even has a little front porch with a porch light. Although we joked about it, I am pretty sure it really is built stronger than our 50 year old house.

I’m totally in love with The Shoffice! It’s so nice to have a distraction free space all to myself. I’ve also had fun catching glimpses of the wild life in our backyard. Being this “connected” to the outside world is remarkably different than the windowless cubicles in the middle of a giant office building that I was accustom to!

In my next post I’ll invite you inside… I can’t wait to show you how I decorated!


Monday, June 4, 2012

Teachers Gifts... ugh!

So it's the end of the school year and for the 2nd time I'm faced with the decision about giving teacher gifts.  I realize that this is probably not a decision that everyone feels "faced with"... it's a strange topic for me.

I think it takes a special kind of person to be a teacher.  I am quite positive that I don't have what it takes to manage and care for 18 five year olds on a daily basis.  But I also think it takes a special kind of person to be a nurse, a mail carrier, a call center rep, a salesman, or even a business analyst.  

We all get to choose our professions and yes some professions are more "personal" than others (my girls' teachers have taken care of 2 of the most preciouse people in my life after all) but that doesn't make the less personal jobs... well less.  We all have the same opportunity to find satisfaction and fullfillment in doing our jobs well.  For a teacher, maybe it's conveying a lesson in just the right way so that it makes sense to a 5 year old and not showing how frustrated they feel about telling the same child 35 times to raise their hand before they talk.  For me, a business anaylst, it's writing air tight requirements, building rapport with my team, and staying on task so that my projects finish on time. 

All of that to say, I don't feel obligated to give teacher gifts.  However, I appreciate the fact that my girls' teachers take their job seriously and I hope they find some personal fullfillment in it as well.  I'm glad that they chose to be teachers, for whatever reason that may be.  I am happy to take an opportunity to encourage/recognize someone who is good at their job especially when my family is better because of it.    I don't think a bottle of wine or a gift card to the mall really conveys that... 

I've finally figured out a gift that I am happy (not obligated) to give... a gift that is a good fit for a person who has chosen a profession in which they give to others, the most helpless of all of us in fact, children. is a website where you can give a charity gift card in virtually any denomination.  The recipient can choose from over 250 charities to allocate the funds to.  You can even upload a picture or scanned image (like I did with Liv's lovely artwork below) to be printed on the gift card.  Or, if you're like me and struggled with just the right gift until the last possible minute, you can print the gift card yourself instead of having a plastic one made.  This gift card + a heartfelt note = no more "issues" with teacher gifts for me!



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